Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hand piecing Progress

Last year I began a hand-piecing project, to work on when I'm away from home.  That was all of a year ago, and I've not made much progress.  When I'm in Adelaide I'm too tired at the end of the day to sit and stitch, and the daytime is totally devoted to the grandkids.  Don't want to miss a minute of them.  So my sum total is one block, incomplete, because I haven't decided what colour I want those corner squares to be.

I'd also pieced the centre of another one, but when I went to sew those halves together I realised that I'd fussy cut from two separate places in the fabric, and they didn't match.
The pattern on the fabric is mirrored on alternate stripes, and I didn't realise that when I was tracing the templates.

Then I lost the fabric and couldn't cut new ones, so nothing more happened.  But yesterday I came across the fabric, in a very unlikely place; who knows why I dumped it in that box instead of putting it in the right place. I found a quiet moment  and, with much concentration, I cut the needed pieces to complete both black stars..  Fussy cutting has certainly slowed this project down; brought it to a standstill more like it.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Nearly done

I've been sewing late into the night lately, in an effort to make progress on my scrap-busting project.  I can remember sewing on the indigo and pink version all those years ago, and thinking 'This is taking forever!! Why can't I get to the end of this thing!!!'  And that is exactly what I'm thinking now.  I've put an awful lot of hours into this top, and it's creeping towards a finish.  It's only 65 x 74, I can't understand why it's taken me so long, and then I remember that they are tiny pieces, and I got diverted by the string quilt, and there's all the usual life stuff going on as well.

I stayed up til 2am last night, in an attempt to get it in one piece, but I had to call it quits, with one last seam to go.  The end is in sight, and then I can start on the borders.  I'm tossing up between a pieced border and just plain fabric; it will take a while to try out the options, so I don't think it will be done today.  But I can move onto something else.
The string blocks are all made and just need to be joined together, then I can start auditioning ideas for borders for that.  I gave Mereth a box of leftover strings, as a starter for a string quilt for her.  She doesn't have boxes of scraps like me, because she cuts scraps into useable shapes all the time.  I've tried that, but it doesn't last long, then it's back to chaos again.

We seem to have a lot of old cots around here, and I deconstructed a vintage one to make a rack for my blocks and ironed fabric. I also have the base of a modern cot to play with, it's a bit wider.
They both need a coat of paint, but that won't happen while it's so hot.  They're proving to be useful, and take up very little space.  Pinterest is full of ways to repurpose cots; in my day cots lived forever, always being passed on to another family, not cut up to make chairs and planter boxes.  I suppose back then no-one was really sure there would be no more babies in a family, so you had to have a circulating cot for the next child.  (And we didn't buy $1000 cots either.  I feel very out of step with the latest generation sometimes.)  But those old cots are unsafe and illegal to put a baby in, so I guess at least they can live out life as a hallstand, or fabric rack :)

Linking to Humble Quilts Stringalong


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stocking Up on Triangles

My determination to sort out my stash saw me going through scraps and the stash drawers lately, and setting aside bigger scraps and those bits of fabric that are only an eighth of a metre.  They just clutter up the stash drawers, and make things untidy, so I'm on a mission to use them to restock the triangle containers.  I use triangles all the time, in 1", 1.5" and 2" sizes, and it's easier to make progress on a new project when there is a stash of triangles already waiting.

I cut up a heap of fabrics today, and now I'm sorting the triangles into stacks as I watch TV.  It's a nice repetitive chore, very mindless, and I can actually watch the TV instead of listening to it.  It's a nice change of pace.
I need to cut even more dark 2.5" triangles so I can start work on this Country Cousin quilt, which was a leader-ender last year.
I used up all my triangles making the North Wind quilt; I need to add more so that I have a good choice.  I'm including black fabric in this, and shirtings, so it can use up all the black scraps that I don't usually include in scrap quilts.  It's nice to have a place for them at last.
 I've uncovered even MORE boxes of scraps, as I dig right down to the bottom of my storage containers. This happens because I love cutting, I don't like to put things away, and I hate making decisions.
Every time I go to use my scraps I think, Oh this is really nice, I should save this for a Good Quilt.
Every quilt is a Good Quilt, surely.  As I sort through all these scraps I'm putting aside the ones that I hesitate over, ones that I don't want to 'waste'.  They're all going into a separate drawer, all in together, and then I'll choose a pattern and Use Them Up!!!

  I should have 'Out of sight, out of mind' embroidered on a T-shirt.  All these hidden scraps are certainly driving me out of my mind.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

This morning I tidied up my strings, and thought rather smugly that I was using them up really well and that soon there wouldn't be any left.  Should have known better than  to come to a conclusion like that.  I was looking for something in a stash cupboard, and found a box containing my real strings; crooked pieces from straightening up fabric, last little bits from fabric long since used up, leftovers from backings and borders, scraps gifted to me by friends, strange bits from op-shop scrap bags.

It's the mother-lode of strings/scraps, and I should be grateful to have lots more variety in my blocks, but I realise now that one string quilt won't take care of all this lot.  I'm going to have to choose another pattern to make after this one, if I want all those strings gone.
It's really good that I found a heap of wide scraps, because I can use those as the corners of my squares.  There's also a pile of bigger pieces that I will cut down into smaller strips, or maybe triangles even.  I have a die that has strips in 1", 1.5" and 2" widths, so I'll send the wide strips through the Go Big, and have an instant string collection.  Anything I really like I'll cut into triangles and stockpile them.
Even this panel for a stuffed toy will be used; it came in an op-shop bag, and I've cut out the printed bits.  I'll put the text instructions into my box of words and letter fabric.

Leah Day had an interesting post on cleaning up, and being more organised, something that I need to address in my own sewing room.  I think this need to deal with the scraps and strings is part of my own feeling that the lack of organisation is getting in the way of quilting, or even enjoying my quilting.  I'm quite determined to concentrate on this until I can see a difference, and once I've dealt with the clutter, the sewing should be a total pleasure again.  At the moment I"m blocking out the mess, and only seeing what I'm working on, but it will be wonderful to walk to my design wall without tripping over something or having to move something.  I am Committed!!


Friday, February 15, 2019

I'm just back from a trip to visit the family in Adelaide.  I was only supposed to stay 3 days, but it's so hard to leave, especially when Isla begs me not to go home and wraps her arms around my neck to make sure I can't make a move for the car keys.  She loves having me there, I'm her private audience to listen to all her songs and stories, whereas Mum has to take care of the house and baby as well.  Being a Nan is a very important job these days, making sure that Isla doesn't feel left out. So I stayed 5 days instead.

I was so sewing deprived that I made another 10 string blocks as soon as I got home, staying up way later than I should have.  I'm trying to put the blocks together as I make them, so I won't have a huge assembly job at the end.
I'm still really enjoying them, though the mess is reaching colossal proportions as the little snippets from the strings build up.  I'll put a heap of them in the bin this afternoon and tidy up the strings that are left and try to be a bit more organised.
I went a bit mad at Spotlight and bought a heap of clearance fabric; a lot of it is for a quilt for Shonny, so I'm excusing my extravagance.  It was all very cheap, $1 per FQ, so I picked up some bargains.  It's inspiring to have new fabric to add to the projects on the go.

I'm collecting blue prints to repair the quilt that DS Rhys wore out; I still haven't found the exact blue I want for the borders, but these fabrics will help replenish my depleted blue stash. 
I chose the material with 0s and 1s because it's binary, and Rhys' work is some complicated computer thing.  Full-stack Developer, whatever that is.  The damaged quilt was backed with fabrics depicting things he liked, Coke, dogs, fishing, tropical fish, WW2 planes because both his grandfathers were in the Air Force.  So now his involvement with computers will be on there as well, patching the holes he wore in it.

My sewing machine is ready to be collected, so I'll dash into town tomorrow and pick it up.  I'm not really desperate to have it back because I'm still immersed in the strings, but it will be nice to know it's ready and waiting for me to get back to my 9 patches.


Thursday, February 07, 2019

String Project

I made a start on the string piecing yesterday, and I really enjoyed it.  I don't have to worry about an exact seam allowance, and the 631 just zips along.  We're getting on very well together.

I'm making this quilt, which is a little photo in a very old quilt book. 
I think I chose this quilt to do because I had a length of this rusty orange, and I wanted to use it up.  I rarely use solid fabrics, so I'm hoping that this will behave nicely and make me braver about  using solids in future.  There's no place to hide your mistakes, those pleats and puckers that happen sometimes; I love plain colours in antique fabrics, and I have a stash, so it's time to start including them.
The mess isn't bothering me much so far, but I know that after a while it will irritate me so much that I'll have to pack it away.  That's why I want to get as much done as I can before then.
I sewed 8 blocks before I stopped, and I'm still full of enthusiasm.
This last picture makes me happy.  Firstly, my last surviving rose made it through that really hot day, and is even blooming.  Second, there are raindrops.  We had a spot of rain and it was very welcome.  I'm glad summer is giving us a rest from those awful temperatures.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

I was sewing the other night, at almost 2am.  I knew I should have called it quits at midnight, but I wanted to get what I'd done so far in one piece.  It was a hot night, but the sewing took my mind off the discomfort until Suddenly, nothing happened.  The machine just stopped, and an ominous warning error message lit up the screen.  Stop for safety purposes! I was devastated; I'd broken my darling machine. I googled the error message, and while I didn't find an exact explanation, I think a fuse on the mother board has blown.  A thermo fuse.  Does that mean I was sewing so much I overheated the machine, or was the sewing room too hot, or a combination of both?  I will have to wait and see what the repair man says.  Looks like I won't have my machine back till the end of next week, so I had better organise a replacement, from my collection.

It's always the electrics that let these old machines down.

Beloved has worn out her foot control, and it's a very unique one, so I haven't been able to source another one in several years.

 Bernie the Bernina has ground to a halt too, she only works intermittently.

I brought my old Janome 7000 back from Shonny's house, but Hayden did some 'sewing' and messed up the timing, so that has to go off to be repaired too.  Good grief, I should do a sewing machine repair course.
I tried sewing on this little sweetie, but she flipped the switch on my meter board and threw the sewing room into darkness.  That's a definite no. (That's an old photo, with my budgies in the background.  No more budgies for me, ever again...)
So finally I dragged out this 631 slant shank machine, and will work at fine-tuning the 1/4" seam allowance on her.  Lots of piecing strips together will help with that.  But I still don't feel that spark of joy when I sit down to sew.  I miss my 6500.

Of course, this could be the Universe, telling me to stop sewing and go clean up my kitchen.  But that's not a message I want to hear right now....


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

And then it was Febrary...

I don't like the idea of our months flying by, but at this time of year it means we are getting closer to autumn, so I'm not going to grumble.  My problem is when my favourite seasons fly by as well; I could live without summer quite happily.

Luckily we've been having a few cool days in between our record-breaking heatwaves, so there's time to catch up on chores and get back into the sewing room.  I'm equally inclined to sew, and to clean and sort, and I'm alternating between them.  I know I'll be able to sew in peace if I make the sewing room tidier and more organised, but I just can't keep away from the machine for long.  Marie Kondo has no idea what it's like to want to create things, all the time.  Throwing stuff out gives her joy, whereas keeping it all gives me joy.  I'm not a convert.

It's hot again today, but I hope to spend my time in the workroom, cutting pieces for new quilts and maybe doing a jigsaw. I didn't get to do my Christmas jigsaw, so I feel I'm owed one.  I love vintage ones, they remind me of childhood Christmas days, settling in after lunch with the latest jigsaw and broaching the tin of toffees.  Back when I liked sugar that is, now I wouldn't eat a toffee if you paid me. 

My scrap quilt is coming along, it's nearly half way finished.  I'm enjoying it, but looking ahead to what I can work on next.  I have a string quilt project picked out, which will create even more mess, and cause me more anxiety, but in my clean up I've discovered many boxes of itty bitty scraps and strings. 

This will be my last ditch effort to use them.  Once I get sick of this, they're going in the bin.  Mereth is doing a Log Cabin with 1" strips, 1/2" finished logs.  That's a bit extreme for me; she can have any of the strips that are cut to 1", but the ragged strings are in the bin if I don't use them.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

About This Blog

Lorem Ipsum

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP